Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Blur

Here's a cliche thought for you:  isn't it funny how quickly Christmas is over after all the preparations?  Weeks of planning, cooking, sewing, shopping and excitement and quick-as-a-wink it's done.  I always start to think that maybe Hanukkah  has it right with spreading the celebration over eights days.  And then I sort of come out of my dreamy trance and remember MY children and realize that there is NO WAY I could take eight whole days of this chaos!  

BEFORE Christmas arrived, I managed to finish up this bag (the last of the handmades for the season, as I gave up on a couple other plans that I had) for my MIL.  I had been working on the embroidery since Thanksgiving and sort of threw everything together last minute.  I think I procrastinated this one the most because after I did the kids' drawings, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to bring the bag together.  Then I found some clearance napkins at Target (used for the outside and inside pocket) and loved how they looked with the rusty floral I chose some time ago.  Inspiration goes a long way for motivating me it seems.

Then, two nights before Christmas, Mike and I looked up to the light fixture above our kitchen table to see this horrible sight.  Water dripping out of your ceiling is NEVER a good thing. Turned out to be a leaky toilet seal upstairs and, thankfully, there was minimal damage to the ceiling and minimal repair to the toilet that Mike and my dad were able to take care of without trouble.  Oh the blessings of a handy man.  You couldn't pay me to be married to a man that wouldn't work with his hands.  

Then the Christmas bomb went off at our place.  Tate managed to lose two rather large toys within an hour of opening them.  I kid you not.  One, in fact, is still missing.  

Then a visit from Santa (AKA Papa Paul:  I STILL can't believe Cal didn't figure it out this year!) at Nana and Papa's and MORE presents.  Let's just say we are now the proud owners of THREE, yup three, cash registers.

And since, a visit from the other set of grandparents that brought more goodies (some vintage fabric and cookie cutters for me from my sis!  Oh THANK YOU dear.  The kids are NOT getting those for their playdoh.  They are mine.  All mine.) and, apparently, I didn't even manage to get any pictures of that madness.  See what happens when I am in the kitchen cooking?  Yummy bread, but I miss out.  Oh Santa, where is my cooking fairy?  I ask every year and you never send her.  ;-)  

Dear Christmas, you are a blur, but a lovely one.  In spite of your blowing in and blowing out rather rudely demanding all sorts of time and attention and not staying to help straighten up afterward, we will miss you and welcome you next year with open arms and great anticipation.  After all, who could dismiss a celebration of God's tangible gift of love to us and a reason to share our own tangible gifts of love with each other?  Not me. 

Maybe next post I'll share some of my favorite things given and received this year with all of you.....  

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Couldn't Stay Away

What can I say?  I have things to share!  Briefly though folks, it's late and I'm all sleepy and such.  I really made it sound, in the last post, like I was going to be buckling down didn't I?  And, I have been working on things.  Really.  No, really.  But, FIRST, there were other things to attend to.  We have been having snow, upon snow, upon snow, around here, so there was some of this:

And then I had to make one of these:

And, of course there had to be some of these:

And, what I have managed to finish tonight (two WHOLE days before Christmas mind you) are these: 

Well, off to bed for tonight.  Dear, sweet Mike has been wrapping up a little storm while I cursed that embroidery thread some more.  Only one more crafty project to finish and I'll be sure to post pics of that and my other trinkets I've whipped up at some point.  In the meantime....  Merry Christmas!  (this time for real, I mean it.  I think.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Happy Friday!  There is no way my procrastinating self will, nor should be allowed to, get back here to post before Christmas!  I hope everyone has a wonderful time with family and friends.  We are cozying down for a nice snowstorm this morning with hopes of playing in it tomorrow (ah, yes, another good reason to procrastinate crafting presents!)  Blessings to you all and a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ornament Tradition and a Sneak Peek

Mike grew up with a great family tradition.  Each year his parents would buy a new ornament for he and his sister, usually with some sort of tie to the previous year.  When Mike and Laurie moved out on their own, they had enough ornaments to decorate their own trees and some memories to go with each one.  Probably everybody and their brother does this and I don't know about it, but if you don't it is a fun tradition to start.  Here are the kids' from this year:




And, it worked out rather nicely, as I think they may have broken two or three ornaments in the process of decorating.  These are sweet replacements.

And, in other things, I am still plugging away with some handmade presents.  Never mind that I still have my MIL's bag to make or the headbands I was going to do for Ellerie and a few other crazy ideas that have been floating around in my head.  I've got 10 days still right? 

Here is a sneak peek at Calvin's in process:

Let me tell you, I am no embroidery expert and the backs of my work are usually all knotted and crazy and none of it is very "professional" looking.  I feel however, that I can usually keep my sanity while embroidering something, but this metallic thread????  Holy can you say frustrating???  It is almost impossible to thread the first time and none of my usual tricks (wax, chapstick, licking) seem to help. And the fraying just continues as I am using it.  Hence, these robots (to be sewn and stuffed when finished) are going to be even wonkier than my usual embroidery attempts.  

As usual though, if you don't look too closely, they are darn cute.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

Finally, I am starting to feel some Christmas Spirit around here.  Even though we have most of our shopping done and I have been working on some projects here and there; between the kids being sick and the van being stolen and repaired, I feel more like I have been in a Christmas Funk.  

But, we have fun plans for tonight including homemade pizza with Uncle Andy and Aunt Amy followed by a showing of Rudolph, which my kids have actually never seen.  And I am starting to really get excited about gifts we are giving and, in this case, making.  

You see, this little man LOVES campfires and roasting marshmallows (and hot dogs).  You COULD say he is borderline obsessed with it.  It is a frequent subject of discussion and requested at ALL sorts of times.  No Tate, we couldn't really have a fire (well, we could, but your mama isn't all that into being frozen) in the snow and roast hot dogs.

I am hoping this little project of mine will carry him over until next summer:

The two pieces of fire fit together to make it three dimensional and it helps it stand up.  Although, I have to admit that the thickness of the sticks still makes it a bit wobbly.  I might rethink that if I ever make another one.

 The roasting sticks are fit with 16 gauge craft wire to give the some strength to hold up the velcro attached marshmallows.

I made 6 marshmallows, which was probably too many as there are only two sticks.  But it was everything I could do to tell myself that I truly did NOT have enough time to make a huge bag of them and embroider it as an homage to Fluffy Puff Marshmallows.  (For anyone unfamiliar with Homestar Runner, I am so sorry if I have disappointed you with my decidedly juvenile sense of humor here).  I might still do it after Christmas if I get a chance.  I mean, they do need to be stored in something right?

In the meantime, roast away Tate, roast away.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Thankful Friday Thank You

I wasn't going to post today, you know.  I'm very busy.  Things to do around here.  But then, the sunlight was really pretty today and I remembered that I had something I've been wanting to hang in Birdie's room and just thought that if I wanted to take some pretty pictures of it that I'd better just get to it now and so here I am.  

Awhile ago, my Blogland friend, Summer over at Artfulife, sent me a little surprise gift.  A hundred years or so before THAT, I had left a little compliment on some of her artwork saying something to the effect that if I had two nickels to rub together I would be purchasing her "Queen of the Lovebirds" because I thought she was just dreamy.  Summer remembered this apparently and decided, when cleaning ETSY house, that she would oh-so-generously bestow her upon me.  Heaven knows why nobody else bought her.  This is a painting full of imaginativeness worthy of fairytales.  I would, in fact, love to see Summer take a go at some fairies...  If they turned out anything like this ethereal lovebird queen, well they'd be gorgeous for sure.  

Here she is in her new home:

I am so glad I chose to do this today.  The sunlight makes that gold, just shimmer:

Summer, thank you for your sweet generosity.  I'm sorry you didn't make any money off her, but she is in a good place! :-)

And, readers (ahem, all 6 or 7 of you ;-) I've decided "hundreds" may be a slight exaggeration) if you haven't already, check out Summer's shop over at ETSY.  I can see you now, choosing a sweet corner of your home for some of her artwork and hoping that the light hits it just right on a day like this and it makes you smile.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Well, we have much to be thankful for.  For one thing, the police found our van!  Granted it has been an expensive hassle to get it back, but it is better than no extra car for sure.

We were also very thankful for lots of great sledding snow at Grandma and Grandpa's!

But mostly we are thankful for family:

Here is one of my beautiful and talented nieces.  She knit that hat herself and has promised to teach me at Christmas.  She assures me it's easy ;-)

Her adventurous siblings:

And for all the fabulous cousins willing to spend time with their little tag-alongs and give their Aunt Lissy a break.  Love you all so much!

And now, on to Christmas....

Monday, November 24, 2008

On a Brighter Note...

Well, our weekend ended better than it began.  My littlest man turned four!  We had a cozy little party yesterday with family.  Tate had specifically requested a purple and yellow race car with the number four on it for his cake.  This guy has ideas. Daddy was "happy" to oblige..  Mike, I really would have done it, but never as well as you! 

My personal contribution was to make him his own birthday crown.  His initial:

His jewels:

His Royal Highness:

These crowns are ridiculously easy and satisfying to whip up. (Amanda has instructions in her book if you can't figure it out just by looking at the pics.)  Can't wait to work on Cal and Ellerie's. I was really happy with the way it turned out.  I think the king was too.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Uh.  Yesterday, sometime between the hours of 8am and 5pm, someone stole our crummy 13 year old vehicle from the parking lot where Mike works.

It's gone.

I keep thinking that it can't be true, you know, that our car was STOLEN.  But yep, the police report has been filed, the insurance company has been called and we are stuck with one car for the indeterminate future.  So while I wrap my mind around this, please say a little prayer that we figure out how to make this work and can be grateful that it wasn't anything worse.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


How did I get here?  Forget this glorious scene; this is what was just outside my window.  Glorious still, but rather different.

And it is THURSDAY.  I looked at the calendar this morning and saw there was writing on today.  Hmmmm....  wonder what that is.  Ohhhhhh... that would say "Tate's birthday at school."  Too bad I didn't do anything special for that.  Luckily he is still small enough to not notice or care about being 15 minutes late to school with three packages of "stopped by and grabbed them on the way here" doughnut holes.  And, as if that wasn't bad enough, "Tate's birthday at school" TODAY would lead me to believe that his actual birthday must be rather soon.  Oh, that's right, Sunday.  How am I left with three days?  I swear I still had two weeks.  I was sure of it.

This week itself has been flying a tad too rapidly though.  The last two days have been crazy with visiting and then company and a combination between the two of a WHOLE lot of boys and Ellie.  (Or, on Tues, Ellie and Polly).  Tuesday was a grand and all too quick (as usual) trip to my dear Meg's. I got a bag that "survived" the sale and few other happy goodies.  Thanks Megan; I love it all, of course!  

And this is what a lot of the day looked like, as we ended up with a grand total of 7 boys (not counting baby Oliver). If it is not apparent to you, there was a lot of blurry wrestling.

You'll notice though that Ellerie was NOT to be left out of this craziness.  

And, speaking of ramming around with the boys, not sure how long finding Ellerie upstairs in bed with said boys is going to be cute ;-)

Our visitors yesterday had us at my place with a six boy total and now after two days of friends, I am left with a MOUNTAIN (is there something bigger than that I can use to illustrate this?) of laundry, no food, clutter everywhere (worse than before and that is saying something) and messed up sleep routines.  And even though I feel like retreating now into a social hermit-like state, it was totally worth it.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008


..... and for this awesome apron!  I won something folks!  A few weeks ago, Julie over at Jane's Apron hosted a little giveaway and I WON!!!  I got my package yesterday, and I SO wish I hadn't been all excited to open it and had thought to take a picture, because she so thoughtfully put it together as if I had purchased it from her rather than her giving it away!  She threw in one of these noteflats, which I will firsthand attest to their quality.  Adorable, first of all, and the paper is just really smooth and sturdy.  Well, get on over to her etsy shop and get some for yourself.....  And she wrapped it all up in pattern tissue paper, a very cool idea, especially when giving away something hand made.   Perfect for when I come across ugly patterns at the thrift store for 29 cents!  

Now, back to the apron.  First, let me say that I am totally going to rock this as an all day accessory.    Yes, I am still wearing it as I type.  The top two squares?  Gigantic pockets!  And, I should have taken another close-up, but the bottom is a printed measuring tape, so you can ACTUALLY use it to measure things as you are working.  How cool is that idea????

And, check out the awesome little button and grosgrain loop.  Hang it up!  Slip your glasses through it!  Tie on a pincushion!  The possibilities are endless! And, I must say, this is the sort of sweet little detail that you will find in everything Julie does.  (No, she is not paying me to say this.  I'm saying it because I really love her work and tastes, but if she'd like to slip me a five under the table, that'd be fine too ;-)

And, here is the kicker to her generosity!  Because she felt she was taking too long in getting me my prize (ha!  Little does she know, it would have taken me twice as long if we were mailing the other way around!), she including a darling mini version for Ellerie...who, apparently, likes to dance in it!  

I also really like this simple apron concept because it is easily adaptable for a boy's craft/cooking apron.  Mine would eat up the measuring tape idea and it would be great made out of oilcloth or something similar that would just wipe right up.  

Julie, thanks so much, I love it all!  And readers (you like how I say that as if I there are hundreds of you?  I am sure there ARE, you just don't all leave comments, right?), go check out her blog and etsy shop because she does some nice work.